Like a Hero Going Home: the Final Days of Tecumseh by Marion Johnson & George Henry
‘They never taught us this in school’: this has been a common reaction among First Nations people after hearing a performance of the play, ‘Like a Hero Going Home’ - which tells the story of a great First Nations hero and one of the great men of history. Tecumseh was a Shawnee warrior who succeeded in uniting many Indigenous tribes in a fight to establish a homeland for their people in present day Ohio. When war broke out on the continent in 1812, Tecumseh turned to the British in Upper Canada for help, and enjoyed some initial success in his alliance with Isaac Brock. But after the death of Brock at Queenston Heights, General Procter took over and the First Nations allies were sold out as the British retreated from the western portions of Upper Canada. The Indigenous warriors played an important role in defending Upper Canada from the American invasion - but their dream of a homeland for their people was quickly forgotten after Tecumseh died at the Battle of the Thames near Moraviantown on October 5, 1813. His legacy lives on in the memories of his followers, and in the ‘Words of Tecumseh’ that are repeated like a mantra through the play.
With a blend of narrative, dramatized scenes, and choral repetition of the ‘Words of Tecumseh’, this play is very effective as a rehearsed reading as well as a dramatic performance. Several parts can be doubled with other parts to reduce the number of actors/readers.
Just 7 First Nations actors can perform the play on their own, with each of the European settlers played by one of the First Nations performers [the script indicates how this is to be done]. Tecumseh was famous for his ability to imitate and mock the various European leaders of his time, so it would be great fun to see the play done this way.
Keywords: Indigenous history, Tecumseh, Shawnee, War of 1812, Isaac Brock, William Harrison
Year Printed: 2017
First Produced: Oct 2, 2013, Chippewas of the Thames Reserve
Running TIme: 50 minutes
Male Cast: 9
Female Cast: 3
Total Cast: 12